Sometimes it can be the unkind words of strangers that cut the deepest, especially when you’re in the spotlight. Many celebrities give us unprecedented access into their lives through social posts and images, allowing us to taste the sweet nectar of fame and fortune (albeit from a distance). The downside, though, is that social media can also become a double-edged sword of online bullying, hate and harassment.
It’s no wonder that these stars have spoken out about the darkness that lurks behind Facebook, Instagram and Twitter — and why they’ve signed off for good (or, at least, for a time).
During a Venice Film Festival press conference for his upcoming cannibal horror film, Bones and All, Chalamet spoke to the judgment that young people face today while being on social media (compared to the 1980s, when the film is set).
"To be young now, and to be young whenever — I can only speak for my generation — is to be intensely judged," Chalamet said, according to E! News.
"I can't imagine what it is to grow up without the onslaught of social media, and it was a relief to play characters who are wrestling with an internal dilemma absent the ability to go on Reddit, or Twitter, Instagram or TikTok and figure out where they fit in."
Though he noted that there are upsides to social media, such as the sense of community it can bring, Chalamet also called out how hard social media can make life in general.
"Without casting judgment on that, you can find your tribe there, but I think it's tough to be alive now,” Chalamet said. “I think societal collapse is in the air — or it smells like it — and, without being pretentious, that's why hopefully movies matter, because that's the role of the artist… to shine a light on what's going on."
“I have taken a break from social media for my mental health, because I find Instagram and Twitter to be overstimulating, to be overwhelming,” he said in the video. “I get caught up and I spiral when I read things about me online. And ultimately, it’s very detrimental to my mental state.”
In the post’s caption, Holland highlighted stem4 — a teenage mental health-focused organization that is supported by the Brothers Trust charity (which was set up by Hollands’ parents). “Hello and goodbye… I have been taking a break from social media for my mental health, but felt compelled to come on here to talk about @stem4org,” Holland wrote in the caption. “Stem4 is one of the many charities @thebrotherstrust is extremely proud to support – and I’d like to take a moment to shine a light on their fantastic work. Please take the time to watch my video, and should you feel inclined to share it with anyone who it may resonate with – it would be greatly appreciated.”
“I think our world is going through a lot, obviously. I would say for my generation, specifically... that social media has really been terrible for my generation," Gomez said, adding "It does scare me when you see how exposed these young boys and young girls are. They are not aware of the news or anything going on. I think it’s dangerous for sure. I don’t think people are getting the right information sometimes,” she said in the Los Angeles Times. The former Disney Channel star has pointed out that she often deletes Instagram from her phone. Speaking to the New York Times, she said, “You can’t avoid it sometimes. I delete the app from my phone at least once a week. You fixate on the [negative] ones. They’re not like, ‘You’re ugly.’ It’s like they want to cut your soul. Imagine all the insecurities that you already feel about yourself and having someone write a paragraph pointing out every little thing — even if it’s just physical."
Jennifer Love Hewitt
“Do people on Twitter ever get tired of being so negative and disrespectful to literally everyone and everything? Are they really that miserable?” she wrote in a series of messages that she posted to her Instagram Story. “There’s hate everywhere, but especially on Twitter. It’s like a cesspool for evil 15-year-olds who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about and have nothing better to do,” she continued. “Taking a break from that toxic site and the people on it who feel the need to constantly attack me, my cast mates, my relationship, and Riverdale.”
Days later, Lili took to her Instagram once again to respond to anyone who might have something to say about her stepping away from the app.
“Unless you’re personally experiencing it, you could never understand how it feels to have thousands of people spewing hate at you constantly. I am not taking a break from Twitter because of one person’s opinion. As a whole that site is not good for my mental health, and it isn’t benefitting me anymore. THAT is why I’m taking a break. And before you think about saying something ignorant like ‘she can’t handle criticism,’ just try to imagine thousands of people sending you hateful, critical messages all day long, as if their opinion on your life matters,” Reinhart shared. “Then ask yourself if you think being on Twitter would be a ‘healthy’ choice at that point. I feel stupid for even having to explain myself, but there’s too much ignorance and negativity out there to not say something. That’s just who I am.”
Kelly Marie Tran
“You know what’s so funny? I’m not on social media. I post, but I haven’t had Twitter on my phone for three years,” she explained. “I do it to protect my energy. I intensely just want to live the best life that I can and be the best artist I can be. I can’t do that if I care about what people think. I can’t do that if I’m trying to please.”
Ocasio-Cortez prefaced her comments by stating she had cut back on her personal Facebook, account even though she still maintains campaign accounts while connecting with her followers mainly on Twitter and Instagram, advising against the ill effects of social media.
“I personally gave up Facebook, which was kind of a big deal because I started my campaign on Facebook. And Facebook was my primary digital organizing tool for a very long time. I gave up on it,” said Ocasio-Cortez.
“I’ve started to kind of impose little rules on myself,” she added. “Like every once in a while, you’ll see me hop on Twitter on the weekends, but for the most part, I take consumption of content — when it comes to consumption and reading — I take the weekends off.”
"I've been racially cyberbullied with tweets and pictures so horrific and racially charged that I can't subject myself any longer to the hate,” wrote the “Motivation” singer. "I'm not the first black female celebrity to deal with this, and I'm sure I won't be the last. Hiding behind a computer and putting people down, especially for the colour of their skin doesn't make you cool; it makes you a coward.”
Previously in July 2018, the comedian completely wiped the content off of his Instagram, stating, “No, there’s nothing wrong… I just don’t wanna be on Instagram anymore. Or on any social media platform,” he wrote. “The internet is an evil place, and it doesn’t make me feel good… I love you all, and I’m sure I’ll be back at some point. your neighborhood goon, Pete.”
Note: If you are in need of help, you are not alone. You can call 1-833-456-4566 toll free, or text 45645, to reach Crisis Service Canada. The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention also has a directory of support services online.
“I’ve had such an amazing ride over the last five years, but I find myself seeing the world through a screen and not my eyes, so I’m taking this opportunity of me not having to be anywhere or do anything to travel the world and see everything I missed,” he posted on social media.
The best part of Sheeran stepping away from social media was his album release upon his return. Hence, why he is one of the richest people under 35.
“Taking a break. Be kind,” Lovato wrote in an Instagram Stories post upon their departure.
"What people don't realize is, I'm an extremely sensitive person," the “Stone Cold” singer revealed at the 2019 Teen Vogue Summit about the role social media plays in their life.
"When someone says something mean about me or makes a meme making fun of me, I have a good sense of humour. But when it's a very serious subject it can be hurtful.” Lovato then gave an example of an internet troll that they had previously dealt with. "Even if you have an account that's like 'ImaDemiFan,' that's the name, and you leave one comment that said 'You look like Lord Farquaad with that hair.' I'm like, 'Damn, that kind of sucks,'" Lovato continued. "I'm so tired of pretending I'm not human."
Millie Bobby Brown
"I have dealt with situations both in real life and online that are soul breaking and it genuinely hurts reading some of the things people have said," Brown began in an interview with Orlando Bloom for GLAMOUR UK.
“Social media is one of the best places in the world and one of the worst — it counteracts itself. It sends such amazing messages; it raises awareness of situations that need to be heard. Nobody should say it isn’t a platform for positivity and change. But then there are some really heartbreaking things to happen on social media and I have dealt with a lot of bullying online. I want to make it a happy place.”
“I also want to combat the negativity on social media — I have experienced it — it’s like a disease. It’s negative hate that is genuinely so horrifying to me.”
“My image, in my mind, is just to disappear. I just want people to see the work that I’m proud of. I feel like you let people touch you when you have Instagram or Twitter, and I don’t want to be touched all the time. I’m not going to do it — ever.”
“It’s not invalid; it’s a new language… But you also become addicted to that hit by yourself and with yourself, every seven minutes or so, and you end up wasting so much time just validating something very superficial in yourself. It has definitely changed us.”
"I was like, 'I need to post. Oh my God, it's been this many days,’" she said. "It's actually been kind of nice not to be on it.”
"I'm 24. I have a lot of growing up to do. I have to deal with loads of stuff myself personally. For that to be projected with millions of people watching, that is like a bit of an extra pressure. I think some people handle it well. Just right now it's not for me, but who knows.”
“I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart. All this cause I did a movie. You can hate the movie but the shit I got today…wrong.”
A few days later, Jones spoke out about the harassment she received online on Late Night with Seth Meyers, “What’s scary about the whole thing is that the insults didn’t hurt me. Unfortunately I’m used to the insults. That’s unfortunate,” she told Meyers. “But what scared me was the injustice of a gang of people jumping against you for such a sick cause.”